Wednesday, May 25, 2022

de Havilland Canada DHC-3T Turbine Otter, N703TH: Accident occurred May 24, 2022 at Yakutat Airport (PAYA), Alaska

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Juneau, Alaska

Yakutat Coastal Airlines

Location: Yakutat, Alaska
Accident Number: ANC22LA035
Date and Time: May 24, 2022, 15:10 Local 
Registration: N703TH
Injuries: 4 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air taxi & commuter - Non-scheduled

On May 24, 2022, about 1510 Alaska daylight time, a de Havilland DHC-3 Turbine Otter airplane, N703TH, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Yakutat, Alaska. The pilot and three passengers were seriously injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 on demand charter flight.

The pilot had departed from Yakutat Airport (PAYA), Yakutat, Alaska destined for the Dry Bay Airport (3AK), Alaska.

The pilot reported that during the takeoff roll from PAYA, he applied takeoff engine power and about 2 seconds later attempted to raise the tail of the airplane by applying forward elevator. He said that the tail came up slightly, but it subsequently settled back to the runway. He thought this was unusual but attributed it to an aft loaded airplane, applied additional nose down trim and departed without incident.

While enroute he stated that the tail of the airplane seemed to move up and down which he attributed to turbulence. Upon arrival at 3AK he entered a left downwind for runway 23. At an altitude of about 600 ft, he reduced engine power and extended the flaps to 10° abeam the end of the runway. He turned base leg about ½ mile from the approach end of the runway and slowed the airplane to 80 mph. While turning final he noticed the airplane seemed to pitch up, so he applied full nose down pitch trim and extended the flaps an additional 10°. On short final he applied full flaps, and the airplane abruptly pitched up to about a 45° angle. He stated that he applied full nose down elevator, verified the pitch trim, and reduced the power to idle. When the airplane was about 300 ft above ground level, the airplane stalled, broke slightly to the left and entered about a 45° nose down dive. After allowing the airplane to gain airspeed, he applied full back elevator.

The airplane consequently impacted forested terrain near the approach end of runway 23 at an elevation of about 18 ft, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage.

A Garmin GPS and an Electronics International MVP-50T engine monitor were recovered from the airplane and sent to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: DEHAVILLAND
Registration: N703TH
Model/Series: DHC-3 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand air taxi (135)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAYA,31 ft msl
Observation Time: 15:04 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 42 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C /6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , 60°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1300 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Departure Point: Yakutat, AK
Destination: Yakutat, AK

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 3 Serious 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 59.164333,-138.4888

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances. 

Date: 24-MAY-22
Time: 23:40:00Z
Regis#: N703TH
Aircraft Make: DEHAVILLAND
Aircraft Model: DHC-3
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: SERIOUS
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)

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